Your Guide to Republicans Defending Torture

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Katie Pavlich

Right-wingers love torturing terrorists.

This is nothing new, but it's especially reprehensible now that we know the CIA used tactics like forcing hummus into a man's rectum to obtain "complete control" and shackling men with broken feet into standing positions. Here's a solid sample of the politicians, pundits and security-state nutjobs who are barely even bothering to pretend these horrible tactics resulted in actionable intelligence. These are the people who are literally pro-torture for torture's sake - people who think it was justified either because the detainees deserved it or that their rights aren't worth considering in the first place.

Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh

According to Walsh, who served Illinois from 2011 to 2013, terrorists deserve to be tortured because treating them sadistically has a deterrent effect.

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Later, Walsh told CNN's Carol Costello that the CIA personnel involved were "American heroes." Raw Story reports:

“Is an American hero someone who is instructed by our government to conduct rectal forced feedings on a prisoner?” Costello wondered. “Or chain someone naked to a concrete floor until he dies? Or nearly drown them two to three times a day? Is that the definition of an American hero?”

“It may, Carol, be part of the job description,” Walsh insisted.

“Really?” Costello gasped.

“Absolutely!” the former Illinois congressman replied. “We forget as Americans who we are dealing with. Got to be frank, we’re dealing with animals. We’re dealing with groups of people who behead, blow up, exterminate people.”

“So we should be animals?” the CNN host pressed.

“The way you defeat an animal, Carol, oftentimes is to act like one,” Walsh opined.

Rep. Peter King

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King would like to remind us all that these are terrorists we're talking about here, so ... you know.

... when Dianne Feinstein says we have to have a just society, the fact is we're talking about enemies here. Enemies of a foreign power who are coming to kill.

We're talking about three people who were waterboarded who were al-Qaida terrorists. We're worried about them, but we're not worried about Americans who may be killed? Where is the moral equivalency here? What are we talking about? Assuming she was right and assuming that the three people who were waterboarded were treated horribly.

That's three al-Qaida terrorists we've treated badly. Assuming if the world found out about that, we're willing to risk the murder of American citizens. This is absolutely disgraceful.

Katie Pavlich

Townhall pundit Katie Pavlich knows how she feels about torture: Pretty good, actually.

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Breitbart

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Liberals are just having some kind of hypocritical pity party, argues Breitbart's Simon Kent, who adds that liberals should "cry me a river."

NewsMax

Right-wing news source NewsMax tortured the very limits of logic itself with this piece titled "15 Tweets That Show Americans Don't Care That Terrorists Were Tortured," which just gathered the worst opinions possible from random Twitter psychopaths into one place as if to say "see? who cares?"

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Remember: asking Internet commenters what they think is a wonderful justification for pretty much anything you could ever want to do. I especially hated this one:

worst tweet

Fox News' K.T. McFarland

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In a disgusting op-ed on the Fox News website, McFarland reminded us that these people really deserved it:

This is the apology tour on steroids.

According to media reports, the report concludes that we tortured terrorists. These are the same terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center, bombed the Pentagon, and tried to level the U.S. Capitol.

These are the same terrorists that today have beheaded Christians, Westerners and, just this past weekend, another American citizen.

So, you know, lock them up in a horrible dungeon and torture them forever. That'll show those terrorists how much better we are than them.

Erick Erickson

On Twitter, literal chest-thumping neanderthal Erick Erickson was busy explaining that accusations of torture were just as full of shit as the Rolling Stone rape expose. (Remember, the alleged victim in the second case has not recanted her claim that she was sexually assaulted.)

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But even if it's true, who gives a shit, right?

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Elsewhere, Erickson's Red Statesarcastically asked "when will ISIS release their torture report?" Because in case you didn't remember, our enemies are very bad people who deserve to be tortured.

Erickson is totally cool with brutal physical punishment. Last December, Erickson tweeted that he had "always taken comfort in the idea of hell fire — that God truly is just and the unrepentant will be in for a smiting."

Allen West

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You might remember this guy as the former military commander who retired rather than face court-martial for actually holding a gun to a dude's head and informing him if he didn't talk now, he'd blow his brains out. Now, I don't doubt that West thought what he was doing was totally fine.I think he thought he was just doing the dirty work that needed to be done to serve his country and is being honest when he says he'd do it again.

So, it's not really a surprise to catch former Congressman West more or less parroting the language of torture on his consolance prize of a website:

And why are we so concerned about the well-being of individuals who wholeheartedly embrace beheading Americans? No, I’m not making any moral equivalency argument, which is what the left is seeking to do. The real issue is that we cannot be viewed as weak.

Spoilers: He is in fact making a moral argument, namely that God-fearing Americans are so morally superior to detainees that we don't even need to worry ourselves about how they're treated. Then when West essentially tells us we need to torture to be strong, I can't interpret this as anything but a willful commitment to inflicting pain because we can. Thankfully, he connects those thoughts for us immediately after:

Yep, we water-boarded some fellas – they’re bad actors, so what? When you decide to kill 3,000 of our countrymen, we’re going to hit back hard against those clearly identified as being complicit.

Wow. It's not an exaggeration at all to say West supports torture for torture's sake.

Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters

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Media Matters dragged up this clip of Watters either lying or being willfully ignorant on the December 9th edition of Outnumbered:

So we roughed up a few of them. So we humiliated a few terrorists. No one cares ... It's not torture.

I don't buy for a second that Watters believes the CIA didn't torture people. Maybe he's committed himself to pretending it isn't, but he knows - and he doesn't care.

Fox News' The Five

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There was more willful denial on the December 10th edition of The Five, including a terrible interjection by Bolling, who seemed to suggest we really needed to hear the torturers' side of the story. Perino belittled the dehumanizing treatment detainees received as "tough talk":

PERINO: I'm not going to call it torture. Enhanced interrogation. Tough talk to some terrorists.

[...]

BOLLING: Take both sides of the story. Fair and balanced, find out what -- let's hear from the other side as well. And by the way, why are we taking sides. This is our safety we're talking about. Greg, you pointed out -- 39 enhanced interrogations. Three were waterboarded. Five rectal rehydrations. But zero died. Zero dismembered. Zero jumped to their death. All of them got three hot meals.

He's actually wrong. Someone did die, a detainee that was shackled naked from the waist down to a cold concrete floor and left there until he died from hypothermia. It's unclear how any of them would have jumped to their death from inside a CIA prison facility, but some of the detainees did attempt to commit suicide.

On the other hand, though, maybe we're being too harsh. As Bolling points out, every time someone got one of those rectal feedings I'm sure that they were told they could have a hot meal instead if they'd only tell us what we want to know.

Fox News' Andrea Tantaros


In a bizarre rant earlier this, Tantaros gave a "very awesome rant above in which she not only spoke out powerfully on the awesome might of America’s awesomeness but also managed to bring up how this whole torture piffle was a distraction from Jonathan Gruber and the IRS scandal."

"The United States of America is awesome. We are awesome. But we’ve had this discussion. We've closed the book on it. The reason they want the discussion is not to show how awesome we are. It’s to show us how we’re not awesome."

Joe Scarborough

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Joe does not give a shit about torture. In fact, he thinks the whole thing is some liberal smear job. On Friday's edition of Morning Joe, Scarborough went on this insane rant suggesting that with enough money, he could paint anybody as some kind of human rights abuser:

"You know they went in with conclusions! They were doing an investigation to actually fit into their conclusions, just like the Rolling Stone author ... I could turn Dwight Eisenhower, I could turn General Marshall — I could turn any of them into war criminals.

The American Family Association 

You might think that a group dedicated to espousing Christian values would be opposed to  torture. Just kidding! AFA radio host Bryan Fischer had this wonderful rant on Thursday in which he claimed terrorists not only don't have rights, but should thank Jesus if they're given any respite from the forced rectal feedings:

"They have absolutely no legal rights that they can claim anywhere. So whatever treatment we give them, if there is any mercy involved in it, they have no right to that; that is simply because we are a merciful people who are driven by Christian principles."